Yelm: Rural town struggles with the great escape from urban chaos August 13, 1989

Yelm: Rural town struggles with the great escape from urban chaos

The Olympian   August 13, 1989   By Brad Sevetson

Keeping ‘Pride of the Prairie’

YELM — If Western Washington is growing, Yelm is exploding. Just a decade or so ago, this prairie town’s streets were usually deserted and most of its residents were acquainttances. To save money on shopping, people drove to Olympia or Tacoma.

Today, cars, campers and trucks lumber along state Route 507 through Yelm at all hours of the day. And while residents can do most of their bargain-hunting in town, they are unlikely to see a familiar face.

Yelm is still a one-stoplight town, and most residents aren’t overly troubled by growth. But when stuck in rush hour traffic jams, they begin to have second thoughts. “On the one hand, growth is good for the community, good for local businesses,” said Dr. William N. Elledge, an internal medicine specialist at Yelm’s Nisqually Clinic. “On the other hand, we start to sacrifice some of the lifestyle advantages that brought us here to begin with.”

Between 1970 and 1980, the town’s population doubled. Since then the population has swelled by 6 percent a year, or twice as fast as the rest of Thurston County.

Those statistics are not reflected on the town’s main street, which with its taverns, hardware store and bowling alley resembles small towns across America. City park signs warn residents the area is off-limits to horses.

But the inhabitants tell a different story — in recent interviews with bypassers, it was unusual to find anyone who had lived in Yelm for longer than 10 years. Outside town limits, the countryside bustles with signs advertising anything from one to 200 acres for sale.

“We haven’t sold all the land we have listed, but we’ve sold a hell of a lot of it in the last two to three weeks,” said Yelm Realty salesman George E. Jones.

Much of the growth is invisible, tucked away in pockets of development in unincorporated areas like Lake Lawrence, Clear Lake and the dense Nisqually Pines single-family subdivision just north of town. With an abundant supply of affordable land located 20 miles from offices in both Olympia and Fort Lewis, southeast Thurston County has become a haven for commuters and retirees.

A 35,000-year-old spirit named Ramtha also has attracted flocks of followers to a $1.5 million mansion on the outskirts of town. Nobody knows precisely how many devotees of spiritual channeler J.Z. Knight have relocated to the Yelm area, but estimates range from the hundreds to more than a thousand.

So far Yelm’s population spurt has attracted no major new industry, no motels, and not even a McDonald’s. But small stores have sprung up to sell everything from sweat clothes to real estate along state Route 507, which shows signs of becoming a Lacey-style strip.

Shuddering at that prospect even as they welcome the new businesses, Yelm officials hope that a planned $7 million sewer system will direct growth back into town boundaries by making development there more attractive. Town officials also are studying street improvements and seeking new industries in an effort to broaden Yelm’s economic base.

“Thurston County is growing fast, and we have to grow with it,” said Yelm Mayor Ronald G. Lawton, a lean, wiry man who presents himself as a cheerleader for the town. “We just have to be sure we’re trying to stay ahead of the battle.”

First arson, now sludge

Several pressing issues have unified the community in recent years as residents rallied against arson and sludge. The arsons began several years ago, and included a blaze that caused $80,000 to Yelm City Hall.

Following an April 30, 1988 string of fires that damaged churches, businesses and an abandoned house within a square-mile area, residents and businesses put together a$20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of an arsonist who had plagued the town for several years.

The reward has not been collected, but the fires stopped after the February 1989 arrest of a leading suspect.

“It’s past history,” said Lawton of the town’s arson problem.

Concerns about sludge remain strong. The worries first surfaced a year ago, when a group called Nisqually Valley Neighbors for a Contaminant-Free Prairie announced itsexistence at the annual Prairie Days parade.

Such well-known Yelm area residents as actress Linda Evans and channeler J.Z. Knight have argued passionately against a proposed sludge disposal project on timberland in the Bald Hills. They fear chemicals and heavy metals in the sludge could pollute both groundwater and the nearby Nisqually.

Just three weeks ago, some 150 Yelm area residents presented the Thurston County Commissioners with a petition signed by 7,250 people. The commissioners declined to

formally support the effort, but the fierce community opposition has led the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle to put its plans on hold for two years.

The struggles against arson and sludge have contributed to an upsurge in community pride, which asserts itself at the town’s entrances in the form stylish new signs with the slogan “Pride of the Prairie” — a motto also available on sweat shirts, which cost $18 at city hall.

And a recent Prairie Days parade attracted hundreds of spectators, who lined up several rows deep.

“It was so jammed that you couldn’t even see the parade,” said Yelm Realty’s Jones.

Plenty of room to stretch out

Newcomers say they selected Yelm for the rural lifestyle, for the school district and the beautiful natural surroundings. Situated on a flat, grassy prairie near the Nisqually River, the town is dominated on clear days by the looming, snow-streaked mass of Mount Rainier.

“There’s nothing you can ask for that this community doesn’t have, in terms of natural aesthetics,” said lifetime resident Mike Edwards, president of the community-owned Prairie Security Bank. “We have a very nice lifestyle in this area.”

“I came here because the property was reasonable and we wanted some acreage,” said Marly Steckler, who moved to Yelm from Seattle with her husband and preschool children. “The growth is all right. If it bothers me, I’ll move.”

With less than 11,000 residents in southeast Thurston County, the Yelm countryside feels far from crowded. But some worry that traffic and other problems will worsen in the coming decade, during which Thurston County planners expect the southeast county’s population to reach nearly 18,000.

“I don’t want it to grow. I like it the way it is.” said Ed M. Crooks, 61, an eight-year resident who was having a drink at the Stop Inn Lounge. “I’ve seen less traffic in the Chicago Loop than I see right here. If I had my way, I’d put up a road block and make ’em all go through Tumwater.”

“A lot of people get really upset with the traffic,” said Yelm Police Sgt. Jeff D. Norton. “You get a lot of complaints.”

The city hopes to ease some complaints with a $450,000 project intended to improve the town’s main intersection. Construction begins this week. But town and state officials have no immediate plans for dealing with two top local desires: widening state Route 507 from two lanes to four, and adding at least one more traffic light.


‘Barristers’ in sweat pants

Worsening the traffic is the popularity of Ramtha, whose seminars can draw as many as a 1,000 people to the Knight mansion on state Route 507 just outside town. When those events let out, unlucky passersby find themselves stuck in big-city traffic jams.

Although a few residents object to Knight’s activities on religious grounds, many treat her followers with amusement, trading rumors about the little-seen New Age channeler and dubbing her followers “Ramsters.”

“The city joke is — they wear sweat pants,” said Lillian L. Lowe, 57.

Business people welcome the Ramtha devotees, whom they describe as well-

educated, peaceful and frequently affluent. Yelm Thriftway manager David G. Anderson estimates that a major gathering at Knight’s mansion brings his business as much as $6,000.

“I think the community has been quite receptive to her activities,” said Edwards.

‘This is not a cult group where they’re trying to take over local government.”

Except for her involvement in the sludge battle and the conspicuous location of her fenced, sprawling mansion, Knight maintains a low profile around town. She said through a spokesperson last week that she was unavailable for an interview, and her staff members declined to discuss her impact on the community.

Her movement leaves intriguing traces around town, such as a flyer posted on the Yelm Thriftway bulletin board advertising interest-free loans, “which may be helpful for Masters in their attempts to be sovereign in their property, cars, or other items requiring large financial outlays.”

Some residents attribute most of the area’s growth to Knight’s followers, but that

claim seems exaggerated. Dr. Elledge, who is acquainted with Knight and whose Nisqually Clinic is located only a short distance from her estate, said that Ramtha devotees account for only a small percentage of his patients.

“It gives us something to talk about,” said Elledge, a slim man with a salt-and-pepper beard who moved to Yelm 10 years ago.

“She’s just a normal person.”

Looking forward and back

Although some Ramtha followers and other new residents reportedly are bringing substantial wealth to the Yelm area, the area remains characterized by mobile homes, vehicle-cluttered lawns and low family incomes.

In the 1980 census, Yelm residents reported a median annual income of $11,977, compared to an average countywide income of $17,946, with 16 percent of all residents living below the poverty level. Yelm’s school district serves free or reduced-price lunches to 55 percent of its students, and has trouble convincing teachers to move to the area due to a lack of middle-class housing.

“Our population is poor,” said Superintendent Glen L. Nutter. “We have some very, very nice homes, but we have probably the biggest mobile home population in the county. We don’t have many middle class places to live.”

And while growth has brought plenty of people to the county, there have been few new jobs. Yelm officials have sought to attract new business to downtown with a revitalization program that has brought two streetlights to downtown and face lifts to most storefronts.

The decision to construct a sewer system followed the discovery of increased nitrate no levels in town wells. Although the project’s main goal is to protect water quality, City Clerk Shelly A. Badger said the sewer system will allow development which formerly would have required prohibitively large septic tanks.

“We’ve had projects killed just because there’s not a sewer system here,” she said, adding that motels, large restaurants and multifamily housing could follow once the sewer system is completed.

But whether Yelm eventually emerges as a small city or an extensive suburb may depend on unknown factors such as the price of gasoline and the willingness of companies to move to Thurston County. Whatever the future holds, some residents will continue to recall with fondness the days when Yelm was a more neighborly place.

“After a year or two here, you knew everybody you saw,” said Elledge. “Now you go to the store and you don’t feel that same sort of small town community closeness.”

Yelm Residents Comment

Rick D. Bowler, 27, a forklift operator who has lived in Yelm for three years: “I remember when I first moved here it was nothing to drive through town, now the traffic is ridiculous. With so many people they need a bigger highway. It’s basically not too bad – a pretty good country life, I would say.”

Helen P. Molinek, 32, a homemaker who has been in Yelm for eight months: “The growth hasn’t affected me a whole lot because I’m so new. I’m part of the growth. I don’t think Yelm has the potential to support a lot of commerce so I really don’t think it’s going to affect Yelm that much. I really like the small town atmosphere.”

James F. Bridge, 58, a Baptist preacher who has lived in Yelm for 11 years: “Things are more congested than they used to be. The traffic through Yelm is really heavy. At night it’s bumper-to-bumper for two hours at least. I think of lot of this is because of J.Z. Knight. That whole New Age thing has had an influx here.”

Kathy K. Gendron, 41, a data entry supervisor who has lived in Yelm for 11 years: “I’ve noticed a lot of growth. I don’t like to see it growing as much as it is, but it’s progress. I can remember when I was going to high school and everybody knew everybody, and you don’t anymore.”

Lowell W. Kennedy, 63, a retired heavy construction worker who has lived in Yelm for four years: “It bothers me a little bit. I didn’t expect it to grow up this fast. Even if it keeps growing like it is, things are going to get higher in price. You’re going to lose that atmosphere of that little old town.”

Mary P. Keen, 50, a retired communications officer who has lived in Yelm for nine months:

“When we first came out here this seemed like a real countrified, little town. But if you come out here on rush hour it’s as bad as Tacoma. I find that people are reacting here now like they did in Tacoma “

A quick look at town of Yelm

Location: The town of Yelm is located in southeast Thurston County near the Pierce County border. Olympia is 20 miles to the northwest, while the employment center at Fort Lewis is 20 miles to the northeast.

Size: 710 acres.

Population (town): 1,425.

Population (unincorporated southeast Thurston County): 9,060.

Median income, 1980 census: $11,977.

Largest private employer: Hytec Inc., 144 employees. Hytec makes showers, hot tubs and other fiberglass bath products.

Largest public employer: Yelm Community Schools, with more than 300 employees.

Government: Mayor-council system. The mayor appoints city employees and presides over council meetings, but only the five council members vote. Salaries are $315 a month for the mayor, $100 a month for council members.

Schools: Yelm Community Schools includes a high school, a middle school and three elementary schools serving 3,100 students. A new elementary school is expected to open by the fall of 1990.

Geography: Yelm is located on a flat prairie about 340 feet above sea level. To the south, the land slopes uphill to the Bald Hills. To the north, the land drops more steeply to the Nisqually River.

History: Pioneers settled the prairie in the late 1800s, and the town developed a dairy-leased economy. The town was incorporated in 1924 and grew slowly for the next half century.

Map of Yelm - August 13, 1989 Olympian

Yelm

Rick D. Bowler, 27, a forklift operator who lived in Yelm for three years:

“I remember when I first moved here it was nothing to drive through town, now the traffic is ridiculous. With so many people they need a bigger highway. It’s basically not too bad – a pretty good country life, I would say.”

Helen P. Molinek, 32, a homeworker who has been in Yelm for eight months:

“The growth hasn’t affected me a whole lot because I’m so new. I’m part of the growth. I don’t think Yelm has the potential to support a lot of commerce so I really don’t think it’s going to affect Yelm that much. I really like the small town atmosphere.”

James F. Bridge, 58, a Baptist preacher who has lived in Yelm for 11 years:

“Things are more congested than they used to be. The traffic through Yelm is really heavy. At night it’s bumper-to-bumper for two hours at least. I think a lot of this is because of J.Z. Knight. That whole New Age thing has had an influx here.”

Kathy K. Gendron, 41, a data entry supervisor who has lived in Yelm for 11 years:

“I’ve noticed a lot of growth. I don’t like to see it growing as much as it is, but it’s progress. I can remember when I was going to high school and everybody knew everybody, and you don’t anymore.”

Lowell W. Kennedy, 63, a retired heavy construction worker who has lived in Yelm for four years:

“It bothers me a little bit. I didn’t expect it to grow up this fast. Even if it keeps growing like it is, things are going to get higher in price. You’re going to lose that atmosphere of that little old town.”

Mary P. Keen, 50, a retired communications officer who has lived in Yelm for nine months:

“When we first came out here this seemed like a real countrified, little town. But if you come out here on rush hour it’s bad as Tacoma. I find that people are reacting here now like they did in Tacoma.”

(Prepared by Brendan Young)

Yelm Enjoys Growing Pains January 26, 1975

Yelm Enjoys Growing Pains

The News Tribune January 26, 1975

YELM ~ This eastern Thurston County town is enjoying a building boom of sorts. Developments downtown include:

-An $82,000 combination city hall-library under construction on the site of the Nisqually Valley News weekly newspaper plant,  which has moved into:

– A newly completed strip mall also containing an Evergreen Savings & Loan office, an optometrist’s office and Yelm National Auto Parts store. The Center has replaced an old house and vacant lot.

-An $80,000 Bank of Olympia branch under construction just across the railroad tracks from the new city hall.

Yelm School District plans a total of $5 million in new school facilities. A $3.2 million new senior high school will open in, 1977. A middle school will then take up the entire existing junior-senior high building. Southworth Elementary is doubling its size, and a similar expansion is planned at nearby McKenna Elementary which serves the Yelm district.

“WE’RE GROWING steadily,” said Dr. Glen Nutter, school superintendent, “We’re not trying to plan ahead, just trying to accommodate what we have. Everyone is pleased with the city’s growth.”

City clerk Roger Eide links the long-term influx of new citizens to a flight from larger cities. Most, he said, come from Tacoma, but many from Olympia and other cities.

“A lot of people just want to get out of the big city, have a few chickens, a cow and a garden,” Eide said.

“Many buy a few acres of land and put a double wide mobile home on it,” said Dr. Nutter. “Others buy in one of several ^subdivisions which have sprung up.”

Retired military personnel have settled in the area for many years, the officials said. THE TOWN’S mayor,Lora B. Coates, is serving her second four-year term. She has owned the Garden Gate Antique Shop for 20 years. Asked about the building activity, she responded:

“Whatever growing pains we’re now enjoying we’re somewhat overdue. We have begun to move with the times; everyone is extremely pleased.

“The existing city hall has been inadequate for 15 years,” said Mayor Coates.

“We’re sitting on each other’s laps. The new city hall received a solid 86 percent yes-vote,” she said, adding that the old city hall adjacent to the fire hall will be renovated to accommodate an expanded police force.

WHEN I CAME to Yelm 25 years ago, the population was 406. Now it’s 708, but we serve an estimated 5,000 shoppers in the area.

“Everywhere you look, a new house is going up,” observed a caller at her shop.

“Some young couples are moving into old houses and fixing them up … There are 10 Yelm citizens age 40 for every citizen the 60-to-70 age bracket,” the mayor said.

Even a famous old mansion eventually will be moving to Yelm, she continued. It’s the Reed Ingham mansion Olympia, now occupied by Gov. and Mrs. Dan Evans. After the Governor’s mansion is renovated, the renovated Ingham home will be cut in two and hauled to Yelm, where it will house the town’s community center, housing a food bank, clothing bank and health services. Purchased from state for $1.05; it will be located next to the city park.

There are 1,750 students in Yelm’s schools, with 350 in grades 10 through 12.

“A much greater influx is in the cards,” believes Mayor Coates.

YELM VISITED BY FIRE WHICH DESTROYS THREE LARGE BUILDINGS February 1907

YELM VISITED BY FIBE WHICH DESTROYS THREE LARGE BUILDINGS

Waddle’s Hotel, Hettrick’s General Merchandise Store and Verville’s Saloon Burned—Insurance Is Light

(Newspaper unknown February 1907)

Fire swept the business portion of Yelm yesterday afternoon, destroying three of the largest buildings and thus all but wiping out the business portion of the thriving little town. Hard work on the part of a volunteer fire brigade saved the’ day. The buildings burned are:

J. Hettrick, two story building, general merchandise store; hotel on second floor. Loss $7,000.

W. B. Waddle, Yelm hotel, story and-half building. Loss $2,000.

Fred Verville, one story building, saloon and barber shop. Loss $1,000.

The total loss is about $10,000 with only $2,000 insurance carried by Mr. Hettrick upon his building and merchandise.

Bad Flue Cause.

The fire is believed to have started from a defective flue in the Waddle building. The flames had gained such headway when discovered that they could not be checked and the volunteer fire fighters directed their attention, toward saving the adjoining buildings ad in carrying goods out of the Hettrick store. A strong wind was blowing. A large water tank and windmill directly in the rear of the burning buildings was the means of saving other buildings in the town. A stream of “water was kept on the Hettrick building  while   the   work of carrying out the stock was progressing, but the workers were soon driven from the building by the smoke and the greater part of (lie goods were destroyed. The hotel furnishings were all destroyed.

As soon as the fire got beyond control appeals were sent to the adjoining towns and the Northern Pacific dispatched trains from Rainier and Tenino with volunteers to help fight the fire. Within an hour and a half the three buildings were entirely consumed.

Mossman’s big store and the post office were saved. The fire practically leaves Yelm without hotel accommodations.

News Reaches Olympia

The fire early put the telephone wires out of commission and news of the fire did not reach Olympia until about 4 o’clock and then only a meager bulletin was received. When confirmation of the news was had about 5 o’clock Pi re Chief Raymond brought his new Ford automobile into good use by going to the scene of the fire, making the trip to Yelm In spite of the bad roads within less than an hour and a half. C. M. Hartwell, business manager of the Olympian, accompanied him. They succeeded in, getting a message” through to Olympia shortly after 9 o’clock allaying the anxiety of Yelm people in the city

who had been unable to learn anything definite as to the extent of the fire. They returned last night, making the trip back after dark without incident.

Insurance Rates High.

This is the first fire of any extent that has visited Yelm in many years. Owing to lack of fire protection insurance rates are high and Mr. Hettrick was the only one of the losers carrying insurance- He will recover about one-quarter of his loss. Mr. Hettrick was in Tenino and was unable’ to reach Yelm until late yesterday evening,

Whether or not the buildings will be rebuilt at once could not be learned, but it is believed they will as all were doing a thriving business. The destruction of the saloon does not leave the town without a thirst parlor as A. Backlund has just obtained a license for a saloon which he is opening across the street from the fire.

Yelm schools teach more than town youngsters March 7, 1983

Yelm schools teach more than town youngsters

The Olympian March 7, 1983

By Mike Wales

Glen Nutter, superintendent of the Yelm School District, said he believe his system is not only teaching children reading, writing and arithmetic, but is also responsive to the needs of the community at large.

Despite cutbacks forced on the district by a recession-ridden economy Nutter has managed to provide trained people to teach 2,600 students drawn from a district 190 square miles in size, and provide community service programs for another 400 adults.

“We’ve been able to acquire some of the best teachers in the state,” he said, noting that even though the classes are bigger than they were a few years ago, and some services have fallen by the wayside because of cutbacks, the district is still providing the best in educational benefits.

Maybe it’s the man. Nutter has been in the teaching profession since 1958 and superintendent at Yelm for 10 years. He is well liked in the community and has the trust and respect of the five member school board.

There are four schools in the district: Yelm High School, Yelm Middle School, McKenna Elementary School, and Southworth Elementary School.

A total of 110 teachers are employed by the district, but what is more interesting is the fact Nutter is able to administer the system with just 8.5 staff positions.

Salaries average around $24,000 a year or teachers. Nutter is paid $50,000 a year, about average for the head of a school district that’s Yelm’s size.

Nutter is proud of the new high school just west of town, but the district isn’t stopping there. About $10 million is earmarked for a school construction program which will include a new elementary school a half-mile south of Yelm which will handle 500 students.

The superintendent said these children will be fifth and sixth graders who are being programmed back into the elementary system.

The middle school is also in for considerable renovation, with some buildings slated to be replaced and others being brought up to today’s standards.

Nutter also is proud of two programs in which the school is involved. The school board decided some time ago the district needed a drug information program, resulting 17 teachers being put through a special training course. Fourteen more currently are undergoing training.

Thurston County commissioners can claim credit for providing a grant for the district in which the training materials and teaching personnel are provided. Nutter provides the districts teachers, which involves paying substitutes to fill in for them while they are being trained.

Once the teachers become proficient they give drug enlightenment classes to students and the students are later tested on what they learn.

The other program Nutter said he is proud of is the systems adult education program, which at present has 400 regular attendees.

“The people of this community have given us overwhelming support,” Nutter said, adding that hundreds of hours of volunteer help are provided by people who have come in to teach such courses as welding and computer programming.

Other volunteers assist the teaching staff, Nutter said. “We have 120 of these people who come in every week.”

They tutor students, correct papers, supervise in the lunch room and help out in the library, he said.

“I think the public feels this facility belongs to them because we have a board that is responsive to the citizens,” Nutter said.

They also seem to have a superintendent that is responsive to the citizens.

Yelm School District

190 sq. miles

Number of Schools: 4

Number of Students: 2,600

Number of Teacher: 110

Number of Administrators: 8

The pictures below were given to me by a Yelm employee.  I believe it might have been Betty Kinnaman.  Lesson:  Always keep track of your sources.

The Entrance of the Yelm Middle School

North Side of Yelm High School (later part of YMS)

Rear view of Yelm High School (later YMS)
The Gym

The Playshed at YMS

Hauling Away History
Starting Over

Lackamas – Only thing missing from restored school is kids.

Only thing missing from restored school is kids.

The Olympian March 24, 2003

By Mildred Kavanaugh

Lackamas could again hold classrooms after tedious restoration led by former student.

Yelm – When 68-year-old Dillard Jensen drives by Lackamas School, located 10 miles east of Yelm, he’s flooded with fond memories of his school days.

Jensen, a lifelong resident of Yelm, was a student at Lackamas School from 1940 until 1946, when the school was closed.

“After sitting empty from 1946 to 1986, the school was tumbling down,” he said. “The foundation and building were still good, but there were no windows, doors, and what was left of the roof was on the basement floor. Deterioration had taken over. I always wanted to put the school back together.”

Now the school can be used for classes again. Yelm Community Schools voters passed a bond last month that could provide 2.3$ million for the restored school, which could almost immediately be used as a kindergarten through fourth-grade school.

But it’s been a long road.

In 1986, Jensen and his wife of 50 years, Nita, and their friends, Rick and Mary Johnson, went in together and purchased the property. Together, they started the lengthy process of restoring the school. Jensen’s son and grandson helped.

The Yelm School Board recently presented the Jensens and Johnsons with a certificate of appreciation for the restoration work they did.

Dr. Alan Burke, superintendent of Yelm schools, said: “When I saw the finished restoration project, I was impressed and amazed with the time, effort and financial resources they put in to restore the Lackamas School. It’s a snapshot back to the past and a great landmark for people who live nearby.”

Jensen says they restored the entire school, including the gym and the teacher’s house. The school is painted the same color it was when Jensen was there as a student. They even re-hung the blackboards. “The building takes me right back to my school days. It even smells like an old school,” Jensen said.

“We saved a little bit of history,” Jensen said. “It’s about time we start saving some of our past.”

Jensen was one of 16 students in grades one to six. One teacher taught all six grades. In those days, there was no such thing as a school janitor, Jensen said. It was the students’ job to clean the building and grounds.

Each Friday, the teacher put up a list of jobs to be done for the next week. Students were assigned on a rotating basis the tasks of preparing lunch, cleaning outdoor toilets, keeping the wood furnace going and putting up the flag.

Every day before school was let out, students cleaned the classroom and got it ready for the next school day, Jensen said.

The Lackamas School first opened its doors in the fall of 1914. The gym and teacher’s house were built later. The school is now on the County Historical Register, State Register and National Register of Historic Places.

Jensen says he hoped the Yelm school district will add on the building and use it once again for a school. “I would love to see kids there again,” Jensen said.

School Board President Denise Hendrickson said, “Dillard and Nita Jensen and Rick and Mary Johnson have made a positive difference in our commun9tyh that will have a permanent place in the pages of history.”

Nita Jensen said one of their partners in the project, Rick Johnson, was too young to attend the school, but his mom, dad and grandfather attended Lackamas School. Johnson’s granddad built the gym.

Now that the restoration is complete, Nita Jensen said, visiting the school is like going back to the past.

“There’s something nice about something old,” she said.

Untitled May 20, 1910

Untitled

Washington Standard May 20, 1910

Loggers are protesting against the Nisqually bridge, alleging that the river is a navigable stream and the piers will interfere with logging.  This matter had been referred to the War Department at Washington.

Untitled July 28, 1911

Untitled

Washington Standard July 28, 1911

An apparently irreconcilable warfare has arisen in the Yelm school district regarding distribution of property involved in consolidation.  It is another instance in which District 28, representing the dog, to use a homely smile, refuses to be shaken by the tail.